July 14, 2003

The Eye in Time

"The Eye in Time" is a title I have been using for many years for an ongoing set of works about the relationship between time and space and specifically comparing the concept of "depth" in time and in space. This is covered in depth in an article (in Japanese): Fisher, Scott. "The Eye in Time: Looking Back", in ICC InterCommunication, No. 4, Spring, 1993.

In general, I have been interested in how we perceive the relationship of objects in space and if we can develop an awareness of depth in time as we perceive and understand depth in space. Stereoscopic imagery is one way to represent depth although what it captures is often not really like our everyday experiences of the spaces around us. In the evolution of the human brain and visual system, the development of using two eyes in stereovision was important to separate objects from a background (this was originally important in finding food and identifying enemies - later it had a lot to do with our ability to name and catalog objects around us). I like the idea that the viewer of stereo images has to interact more with the image. Their eyes (and brain) have to work together to explore the space of the images and in effect, interact with the image - more so than in a traditional, flat 2D image. These images are often much 'deeper' and objects appear more 'solid' in these images than they do in 'real life'. I think it has something to do with how often we switch our attention from the world around us to our inner thoughts and activities. Some days we pay more attention to the 'outside' world and see things in greater depth. Some days we are more immersed in our own thoughts. A related issue is the idea of 'solidity' and how things change over time. Most 'objects' have a limited period of solidity before their components become reconfigured.

This image of my installation for an Art show in New York was a comment on seeing in depth. The two images attached to the guy's eyes are the left and right images from a stereo pair taken of a shiny pocket watch hanging over a mirror. If you look at the image in a stereo viewer, the depth of the mirror is very strong and the depth of the reflections in the watch appears to be some kind of an illusion rather than a solid object.


In a sense, the whole image is about this idea of depth in time (and also kind of a self-portrait).

This image of a box of photos is a set of stereo images that I made in and around an abandoned factory building in New York State. One set of images documented mirrors that I installed in various indoor spaces in such a way that they reflected ambiguous spatial relationships or made virtual holes through solid walls. Another set showed similar reflected spaces in an outdoor environment - in some cases the mirrors created deep holes of light in the ground. The third set was taken through the broken windows of the old factory, which appeared like huge frames around open sky or sometimes a single tree. To me these spaces seemed very similar in feeling to the mirror reflections in the other two sets. My main question in making this work was thinking about what happens at the intersection of different kinds of spaces (both virtual and actual) and how to represent this 'interface' of spaces - it was titled 'interface as reflection'.


Posted by Scott Fisher at July 14, 2003 4:47 AM
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